Generally, the driver who fails to properly signal is liable for causing an accident.  The most common failure to signal accident occurs when a driver fails to signal and is hit by another vehicle from behind. 

Is There A Duty To Signal?

A driver has a duty to signal his intentions in a manner which is visible to other drivers and which leaves enough time so that other drivers can adapt to the situation.  Failure to give an adequate signal results in the same liability as if no signal was given.  

In one case, a driver was held liable for failing to give an adequate signal when he signaled just as he was entering the intersection.  Another vehicle traveling behind struck the motorist who failed to adequately signal.  The court held that the turn signal given by the driver of the car ahead came too late to give the driver of the following car sufficient warning to prevent harm.

The giving of a signal is almost always required by statute, and violation may be evidence of negligence per se (an act which is intrinsically negligent because of the violation of a statute).  However, the non-signaling driver will not be held liable for violation of the statute if the lack of a signal did not actually cause the accident.  

For example, in a case by a motorcyclist for injuries suffered when he was hit by a truck which turned suddenly as the motorcyclist was attempting to pass, the court held that the sole cause of the accident was the truck driver’s violation of a statute requiring that intention of a turn be given not less than one hundred feet before turning.

Should I Consult An Attorney Regarding Auto Accidents Caused By Failure To Give Signal?

If you have been involved in an auto accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately.  Proving fault can be difficult, and the other party may have defenses such as comparative negligence (showing the injured party was also partially at fault).  An attorney can help protect your right to recover and represent you in court as well as deal with the insurance company.